From ice hockey player to GMP policeman in Bolton
A hockey player on ICE put down the puck to become a police officer.
Paul Swindlehurst, from Blackrod, joined Greater Manchester Police in September after being inspired by another police officer looking for a missing child.
The 28-year-old has since traded the ice to hunt criminals and he loves it.
He said: “I first thought about becoming a police officer after meeting and talking to a police officer years ago at a streetcar stop because they were looking for a missing child.
“I remember thinking how interesting it would be to be involved and I’ve stayed in touch with this officer ever since – we’re still friends. I always knew that after I quit playing hockey, the police would be something I would love to get into.
“I’m really enjoying it so far – some of it is really interesting and I can’t wait to get started. I’ve been used to working on a team since playing ice hockey so I can now apply that to my role as a policeman for a large police department in a huge area.
Paul’s ice hockey career brought him to Canada at 16 on a scholarship, before returning to play for Swinton, Dundee Stars, Nottingham Panthers, Belfast Giants and returning to the United States with the Blackhawks. from Chicago.
The policeman even represented England at the world championships and the Olympic qualifiers.
He said: “I first discovered ice hockey when I was four years old. My mom was working with someone who knew a roller hockey coach, so I got to see them practice.
“I was standing in the gym and had only seen football, rugby and cricket before.
“The coach asked me what I thought about it, and I knew it was something I wanted to try. I got home from school the next day and my parents bought me the equipment and started playing at the Altrincham rink.
Paul had been playing since the age of nine, with then Bolton Mayor Cllr John Bragg congratulating him on his silver medal at the World Youth Ice Hockey Championships in Toronto.
He said: “I always knew I wanted to give something back and I always tried to do that when I was a hockey player.
“We were visiting Great Ormond Street and meeting some fans who were happy to meet you – it was great knowing you could do”